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Eating Less Doesn't Lead to Weight Loss

Jun 05, 2008
Increased eating is not necessarily linked to weight gain and obesity, scientists say. Therefore, weight loss strategy should be aimed at developing other types of drugs to regulate weight.

The new study conducted at UCSF , a university dedicated to promoting health worldwide, showed that serotonin, that is known to regulate appetite and weight gain works in two different ways in the body: one that signals about the feeding and the other that controls fat metabolism.

The signaling channels are made of a number of molecular interactions activated by neurons in the brain. Thus, the fat metabolism is largely dependent on the brain regulation to store or burn the fat.

The experiments were performed on Caenorhabdtis elegans, worms that share half of human genes and if the same mechanism will be revealed in humans, the new weight loss drugs will be developed to control fat metabolism. Researchers used RNA interference method, that inactivate hundreds of genes to see how this influence serotonin regulation.

Kaveh Ashrafi, PhD, assistant professor of physiology at UCSF, says that the reason why eating less might not work for weight loss is that diets focus on eating only, while serotonin regulation of fat may be disrupted.

However, scientists say that eating does influence the weight loss, but the effect of serotonin might also play a great role.

Modern weight-loss drugs are aimed to curb appetite, but the effect often does not last long. The new drugs developed to prevent fat-deposition might be very helpful not only for weight loss but also for fighting obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other related conditions.

It was believed that obesity is a result of increased food intake and physical inactivity. As a matter of fact, numerous studies showed that external factors are not the only reason of weight gain. The psychological system, that involves genes functioning in fat muscles and brain plays very important role in controlling body metabolism.


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